HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) issued today the following statement regarding the 2020-2021 State Budget proposal unveiled by Governor Wolf.
“This budget is completely disingenuous as the Governor claims there are no new taxes in his proposal. In reality, the budget features a laundry list of new taxes and fees with a total of $1.5 billion in new spending and more than a billion dollars in new borrowing – and he expects taxpayers to foot the bill.
“While Governor Wolf spoke about protecting our students, his actual proposal does the opposite by cutting $45 million from school safety programs. Ensuring this funding is restored and our students are able to learn in a safe environment is one of my top priorities.
“The fact that this funding was cut while the Governor advocates for policies to deprive citizens of their Second Amendment rights is unacceptable. Blaming law-abiding citizens for the misconduct of criminals who use firearms is not the answer. Instead of attacking citizens’ rights to bear arms, the Governor should be focusing on a budget that protects taxpayers from irresponsible spending and addresses skyrocketing school property taxes which continue to force our seniors out of their homes.
“Thankfully there are other parts of the budget where I believe we can find compromise, such as the proposed increases to education funding for vital programs such as pre-K Counts. As Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee, I also appreciate his focus on workforce development including additional funding for job training and tackling barriers to employment, such as childcare, transportation and criminal history. Jobs are available, but we need to ensure individuals have the skills and necessary support in place to succeed.
“With that said, we should also be focusing on improvements to the overall business climate of the state – high taxes, unpredictable and burdensome regulations and excessive government mandates which dissuade employers from growing or locating in Pennsylvania and creating jobs in the first place.
“Unfortunately, the Governor is once again pushing for his misguided severance tax on the natural gas industry, threatening the Impact Fee which is currently in place. We have rejected this tax for five straight years because it would cripple our communities and eliminate jobs in one of the state’s top industries.
“Lastly, a sustainable budget has no room for gimmicks, which is exactly what the Governor is attempting to do with his proposal to raid the Horse Race Development Trust Fund. This fund is financed by casinos, not tax dollars, and exists for the sole purpose of supporting the horse racing industry. Robbing this fund which benefits our local racing community not only threatens a significant job creator in the area, but it also stifles tourism dollars and opportunities with fifteen community fairs that have made horse racing a key attraction for decades.
“Despite the Governor’s rhetoric today, I am committed to working with all of my colleagues to create a realistic and responsible budget that solves the problems facing our communities without damaging our economy, the livelihood of tens of thousands of Pennsylvania workers, or the rights of our citizens.”
CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463